Messi leads Barcelona to victories … and revives his dream of the title
Lionel Messi led a quick uprising from Barcelona to reverse his delay with a goal to a 3-2 victory over Valencia, on Sunday, and to continue the competition for the Spanish Football League title.
Barcelona were behind in the 50th minute when Gabriel Paulista headed a corner kick into the empty net after goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen fell while trying to get out to deal with the cross pass.
The Catalans’ reaction, which missed the opportunity to take the lead when it lost 2-1 to Granada, last Thursday, was strong and won a penalty kick after a handball by Valencia’s Tony Latou.
Jesper Selsen saved the kick from his former teammate Messi, but the ball rebounded to the Argentine player to put it in the net in the 57th minute.
Six minutes later, Antoine Griezmann put Barcelona ahead when he followed up on the rebound from Celsen after Frenkie Diung’s header.
And Messi appeared to be within Barcelona’s victory when he concluded the goals with a free kick that hit the post into the goal in the 69th minute, raising his tally to 28 goals in the league this season.
Valencia raised their hopes, however, when Carlos Soler narrowed the gap with a powerful shot from long range seven minutes from time.
The homeowner, who drew 2-2 at Barcelona in December, put their hosts under tremendous pressure in the final minutes and squandered two chances to tie but Ronald Koeman’s side held out to emerge victorious.
Barcelona are third with 74 points, four games before the end, tied with Real Madrid and two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid. Sevilla, fourth with 70 points, host Athletic Bilbao on Monday.
Barcelona is facing a potentially fateful match in the title fight next week when it hosts Atletico. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said: “We know that we will not play easy matches until the end of the season, but we did what we had after the unexpected defeat against Granada. We will continue to compete until the end.” Today we showed that we can still fight and this is what we wanted to do at the beginning of the season and the credit. It brings us back to our competition. “